UFC 242: Khabib vs. Poirier featured a main card of lightweights on display in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Four of the five featured bouts were in the 155-pound division. In the co-main event, No. 7 ranked Edson Barboza faced No. 10 ranked Paul Felder in a closely contested bout.
The two faced each other before in 2015 with Barboza defeating Felder by unanimous decision an a match-up that earned Fight of the Night honors. On Saturday, Felder avenged the loss and put the top of the division on notice.
In the opening round, Barboza’s speed was on display as well as his world-class kicks. Felder pressed forward and returned fire but was bleeding from his forehead and nose by the end of the frame. The cut on his forehead was caused by a clash of heads and the two headed back to their corners with no one having a clear advantage after five minutes.
In the second round, the two immediately started exchanging. After being slightly stunned, Barboza changed levels and secured a takedown. Felder delivered elbows from the bottom that opened up a laceration of Barboza. Barboza landed counter strikes but Felder’s forward pressure started to cause Barboza issues.
In the final round, Felder came out with a sense of urgency. His punches started landing at a higher rate. Barboza had slightly slowed and Felder clearly won the round. After fifteen minutes of fighting, it was in the judges’ hands with the result uncertain. The first judge’s scorecard read 30-27 for Barboza while the second had the fight 29-28 for Felder. The third cageside judge scored the bout 30-27 for Felder resulting in a split decision.